Another Country of Long Shadows

I have many friends who “walk in the shadows.”  In Cuba, walking on the sidewalk in the shade is a relief from the harsh sun almost year round.  But the long walk of my friends is metaphorical:  Because their children in foreign countries send them remittances and every once in a while invite them to visit; they earn CUCs by working for foreign firms; or they rent out rooms to foreigners. Those friends, we say, “walk in the shadows,” they don’t do the work of the common man.  Their lifestyle does not bother me, but I am alarmed by the shell they have molded, within which they do not care about everything that occurs in the country, as long as it doesn’t happen to them.

What’s more, they avoid reading the press or watching the news now that these things are the bearers of propaganda which “depresses them.”  Their palliatives range from renting Mexican soap operas to not missing a presentation of the famous all-female chamber orchestra, the Camerata Romeu.  That shell did not appear from nothing, disappointment turned them into cynics, and paranoia made them cautious.  Some have distanced themselves from me, even though they think as I do:  It is one thing to criticize in a private gathering and quite another to write and sign your name to it.  They call me crazy and irresponsible, they appeal to my teenage son.  Stay in the shadows my friends.

Translated by Hank

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